Fall is just around the corner so get ready for the unpredictable weather. You know, clear skies and beautiful one day, heavy rain the next, followed by an unexpected hail storm. It's an inconvenience just trying to plan your daily activities, but have you thought about what that can do to your home? We can share many stories of getting called from our customers who just returned home from work to find large holes in their siding - not even aware what the damage to the roof might be. It can be devastating at first, but knowing your options and having a trusted contractor you can turn to will be your saving grace.
I'm concerned I have storm damage - now what?
If you suspect damage to your home, have an experienced contractor perform an inspection on your home. At NAC, we recommend NOT contacting your insurance company first. Did your jaw just drop open? I'm sure you are thinking "Why not?"
When you contact your insurance company to inform them you have, or think you have, damage to your home from the recent storm, most insurance companies begin the claim process. Yes, you now have an open claim on your policy, regardless if you have damage or not. So, what does that mean? Your insurance company will begin your claim and assign an insurance adjuster to inspect your home. The adjuster will inspect the exterior of your home and decide if you have enough damage to warrant a payable claim. If he decides there is not enough damage, your claim is closed, you do not get your roof/siding replaced and now you have a claim on your policy - and we all know what that could potentially mean - rates increase.
An experienced contractor will know where to look for damage and be able to document the damage and the severity. This will help the contractor with explaining your options and potentially with the claim process. The contractor should be looking out for "your" best interest in giving their professional opinion if the damage to your home is worth filing a claim with your insurance.
Again, we cannot stress enough as to the importance of choosing a professional contractor to help you through this process.
Why can't I just handle my claim?
You absolutely can! However, there are many benefits to having a specialist help you. As we have mentioned, the insurance claim process can be long and even frustrating for some. Your contractor of choice will meet with your insurance adjuster to make sure he is documenting ALL of the damage. In many cases we have seen, not everything is approved during the initial adjuster meeting. Your contractor can provide the adjuster with additional documentation and support to help get everything you are entitled to. For example, if your lawn ornament in your garden was broken by the hail storm, the contractor can make sure your insurance covers the cost to replace it.
If insurance approves my claim, how much will the work cost?
First and foremost, the contractor should ask you simple questions about your policy. For example, how much is your deductible? If you don't know, it's a simple call to your insurance company for the answers. But, if your insurance approves your claim, the most you would pay out-of-pocket is your deductible.
What if I don't have enough damage to warrant an insurance claim?
There might still be a few areas you would need to address for potential repairs, but that should be discussed during your free inspection. If repairs are needed, the contractor you choose should be more than willing to help you. Luckily, at NAC, we have our Roof Watch Program. This program is designed for homeowners who do not have damage from a recent storm. You can sign up for free and NAC will monitor storm activity near you and notify you when a new storm may have potentially caused damage. For more information or to sign up for Roof Watch, click here.